OC coach and professor excelling in European races
DUBLIN, Ireland (July 15, 2009) – Oklahoma Christian University head cross-country coach Mark Thompson is competing in a series of races across Europe during the month of July.
On Wednesday, Thompson won the mile run at the famous Morton Mile in Dublin, Ireland, with a personal-best time of 4:01.20. Thompson was one of three Americans in the field and he edged Canada’s Geoff Martinson (4:01.65) for top honors.
“I felt tremendous, and it was definitely a sub-four (minute) day for me if the race had called for it. The Irish were so excited and appreciative of the effort, and I felt like royalty the rest of the evening. It was the biggest win of my career, and it felt relatively easy. I’ve got another sub-four shot in 10 days, so I plan to leave everything on the track then. In running your identity is your time, and I’d like to carry 3:59 with me the rest of my life,” Thompson said.
Earlier on the trip, Thompson clocked a personal-best time 7:59.01 in the 3,000 meters at the Leon Buyle in Belgium, a time which ranks in the top-40 3,000-meter performances in the United States. Thompson also set a personal best in the 1,500 meters where he ran 3:42.57 in Belgium.
OC assistant cross-country and track and field coach Sam Dech is also competing with Thompson in Europe. Dech set a personal mark with a 1:50.39 in the 800 meters at a high-performance series race in Indianapolis, Ind., earlier this month.
Thompson – who serves as an assistant track and field coach – helped two Oklahoma Christian athletes win NAIA national championships on the track this season. Senior Josh Wayland won the indoor 1,000 meters and sophomore Silas Kisorio was the national champ in the outdoor 800 meters.
The 29-year-old Thompson was a nine-time state champion runner in track and cross country at Edmond Memorial High School in the mid 1990s before running on two national-championship teams at the University of Arkansas. He was named OC’s head cross-country coach in December 2008.
Check back for continuing updates on Thompson’s success in Europe.